Pitti Immagine – a space for international ideas, fueled by tradition and artistic heritage, socially relevant, in continuous expansion, which blurs the boundaries of today to seek and embrace the present of do-mani , is set to showcase 4 African designers from the Ethical Fashion Initiative at Pitti Uomo 99.
The annual event (Pitti Uomo) will continue its annual menswear trade show this month from January 12 to 14. This time, it will not be physically returning to Florence’s Fortezza da Basso, but instead, in an all-digital format.
This year, four African designers, Lukhanyo Mdingi (Cape Town, South Africa), WUMAN (Lagos, Nigeria), Margaux Wong (Bujumbura, Burundi), and JIAMINI (Nairobi, Kenya), have been selected to take part in the first edition of the Ethical Fashion Initiative Accelerator Programme.
These young creatives from all over the African continent were selected among over 250 applicants by an expert judging panel comprising United Arrows’ Hirofumi Kurino, Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Susi Billingsley and Nollywood actress and activist Dakore Egbuson-Akande. The designers were to feature a special project during Pitti Immagine Uomo 99, in January 2021. Last spring’s Pitti Uomo saw a postponement due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Italy, and unfortunately, the situation has not improved enough for a physical debut in January.
Pitti Uomo has however made digital adjustments to include online appointments with vendors, as well as real-time livestreams of presentations, hoping to bridge the connection with buyers and consumers.
A contemporary African fashion-art brand founded in 2013 by Ekwerike Chukwuma, WUMAN unifies culture, heritage and African art with cross-disciplinary affinities to anatomy, poetry, architecture etc. though her designs.
The LUKHANYO MDINGI label founded in 2015, is known for creating meticulously made pieces. The epynomous label collaborates with artisans and communities to build a bridge – bringing their heritage to timeless premium pieces while providing a platform to support, through continuous work and awareness.
LUKHANYO MDINGI has been featured in VOGUE ITALIA, NATAAL & I.D, showcasing on notable platforms such as The British Fashion Council: International Fashion Showcase, PITTI UOMO IMMAGINE – Generation Africa and The CFDA: New York Fashion Week – Men’s.
Margaux Wong represents African great wealth or luxuriousness. The innovative sustainable brand which practices the amazing transformation of rare cow horn and brass into luxurious, beautiful wearable art. Materials used can be recycled, reused or are biodegradable.
Margaux Wong takes great pleasure hand polishing each jewelry piece to the finest finish using tedious traditional techniques and gently enhanced by a modern design perspective.
JIAMINI (‘Swahili) which is translated believe in yourself in English is family run by a close knit Kenyan family. The Kenyan based Fashion Accessories Brand was founded in 2016, on the belief of preserving its Traditional African Heritage. While on a mission to design an international wardrobe for today’s global woman the brand uses the old – age traditions passed down from generation to generation brought to life by skilled female artisans – creating timeless staple pieces.